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Mothers have been studied to consider how stress levels effect engagement

Mothers have been studied to consider how stress levels effect their engagement in therapy work that has been taken on to improve interactions with their child.
Mothers' stress levels examined in new study

Mothers have been studied to consider how stress levels effect their engagement in therapy work that has been taken on to improve interactions with their child.

The research examined whether mothers stress levels prevented them from learning new skills. It also considered whether those mothers who did learn new ways of engaging with their child noticed their stress levels fell or if parental stress had an impact on the child.

The study looked at 44 mothers of under-5s with disabilities, including learning disabilities. The mothers were age 24 to 43.

Skill interaction sessions

They had parent-child interaction sessions for an hour each week for a year and continued to use the skills learned at home. The mothers stress levels were assessed using the Parenting Stress Inventory form.

Despite their stress,

...

Mothers have been studied to consider how stress levels effect their engagement in therapy work that has been taken on to improve interactions with their child.

Stressed mums study
Mothers' stress levels examined in new study. Picture: iStock

The research examined whether mothers’ stress levels prevented them from learning new skills. It also considered whether those mothers who did learn new ways of engaging with their child noticed their stress levels fell or if parental stress had an impact on the child.

The study looked at 44 mothers of under-5s with disabilities, including learning disabilities. The mothers were age 24 to 43.

Skill interaction sessions

They had parent-child interaction sessions for an hour each week for a year and continued to use the skills learned at home. The mothers’ stress levels were assessed using the Parenting Stress Inventory form.

Despite their stress, all the mothers improved interaction with their child and benefited from the programme. Stress was not found to have impaired their ability to learn. However, their stress levels did not fall during the interactions, despite the support.

Conclusive results

Researchers concluded that mothers’ stress may be due to wider aspects of caring, which are unconnected with their interactions with their child. Parenting stress was found to enhance the mothers’ responsiveness to their children.

As learning disability nurses we work with parents who are often stressed and can question if providing a structured programme of support is best timed when someone is stressed. This research has found that generally mothers still can engage at stressful times, and they and their child benefit from the interventions.


Alquraini T, Mahoney G (2015) An exploratory investigation of the role of parenting stress in relationship focused intervention. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 28, 6, 536-547. doi: 10.1111/jar.12148

 

Research round-up is compiled by Stacey Atkinson, learning disability nursing lead at the Univeristy of Huddersfield

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